My Savings Account Helps Me Save Money! Ta Da!
In the 1970s, an answering machine was the new wonder technological gadget to own. What freedom it afforded! With one sitting on the kitchen counter, we could go to the bathroom without worrying we’d miss an important call. We didn’t get daily or hourly important calls from everyone we’ve known since birth because people weren’t permanently connected to a phone. They’d leave the house, and the phone, took a shower. Even went to bed for several hours without phoning everyone to tell them so. They had dinner without interruption and no one knew what they were eating.
What fun we had recording outgoing announcements! Fun you youngsters still have, but only your incoming callers hear it. The announcement that is. For me and my friends, lying on our stomachs, messing with the answering machine and acting out skits, recording a funny announcement was the bomb.
When I was in college, my roommate worked for the phone company: Ma Bell. She had a phone installed in every room of our apartment, including near the potty. This was high decadence, if such a thing is possible with rotary or touch pads. She was like a drug dealer or something. A phone in the bathroom was living in a McMansion, ten vintage cars parked in the garage, and gold chains around the neck. A phone in the bathroom beat out one phone with a fifty food cord, even.
A few years later, along came the 80s and we hooked little pagers on our belts. If anyone paged us, we found a payphone so we could change our clothes in privacy. I don’t know what the connection was between changing clothes and getting paged. Perhaps Ralph Lauren or Adolfo had a clothing emergency and knew our telephone number.
What does this have to do with saving money? It doesn’t, but it does prove we didn’t have debit cards and ATMs. Rather, we did have them, but we still carried cash. Folding money. ATMs were like owning a spaceship. We liked the idea, but didn’t go around firing it up and taking off for the moon.
ATMs didn’t help us save money, but not having credit cards did. If you don’t have a credit card, you don’t use one. I wouldn’t have any for several more years, until after I was employed by Pan Am and took up serious shopping as a hobby. I got into debt, so I cut them up and then realized I’d never save up enough miles to fly even as far as Cleveland. I’d never save up that many miles anyway. And Cleveland isn’t high on my bucket list. No offense, Clevelanders.
Why did I get into debt because I had credit cards? I won’t dignify that with an answer. After several years of having them, and then getting rid of them, I remembered the joys of having to wait to buy something I wanted. I had to save for it. Gasp! If I didn’t have the funds, I couldn’t buy the item. It was so pre postwar.
When I got rid of the cards, I felt morally superior to the sheeple who still used them and complained about debt. Forsooth, I had superior-ed too soon. Along came several years of paying fees to the bank for going over my debit card limit. I couldn’t win, it seemed. It was a government conspiracy to get me to buy a pair of shoes I didn’t need. This was the Capitalist way of controlling me. Forcing me to thumb through Macy’s catalogs.
For a few years I used a Walmart card and deposited my checks to that, but that doesn’t have a savings account option. I no longer had a bank account, except for an empty Cafe Bustelo can hidden behind the coffee. That was too on the nose, so I put it behind the toilet paper in the hall closet. (For anyone thinking of doing a B and E and taking my twenty dollars, you should know the can is no longer there.)
I finally opened another bank account, and because I felt silly never having ready funds five minutes after I received my check, I decided to make use of my savings account, which up until recently had a lint covered quarter and a stale piece of Juicy Fruit gum in it. These were not easy to deposit. Now, as soon as I receive my check, I….Come on, kids, what is it I do? Put ten percent or more in it before I do anything else? Yes! That is what I have learned over a mere sixty plus years on earth and having read 15,000 articles by financial know-it-alls.
All those articles had me convinced that savings accounts paid me nothing, and were stupid. I comforted myself with this nugget every time I bought a new outfit.
I have friends who’ve made a habit of saving for many years. True story. I would gaze at their morally superior faces and wonder why they didn’t use their savings when they wanted something. Why else would they bother to have extra money, thought I? No, they would just look at it as if it was a sexual organ substitute. “Look at me!” it shouted. “I’m big! I can make an extra mortgage payment and fill the tank if I want and still be big! Nyah!”
I don’t know what came over me, but I did it, too. I put ten percent of my check in there and then just stood back and looked at it. It looked good. It looked like it could put on a little weight, so the next month and every month thereafter, I put ten percent more in it.
Now, when I want something, all I have to do is pull some money out of my savings account, right? No! Haven’t you been listening?
I wait- that’s right- I wait until my next check (even if it’s a week or more!) and budget for the item, which I buy after I put in the ten percent (sometimes I go ballistic and put in twenty percent!), pay bills, and buy the things I need. Then, and only then, do I buy the thing I want. Sometimes these are one and the same, but if the item can wait, it waits.
It makes me feel like a teenager again, depositing my babysitting money!
This little piggy above says savings are good for emergencies among other things. Last week, money was tight and I was able to come to the rescue with my funds. My hubby promised he’d pay it back, but he didn’t. Sigh. But that’s okay, since I couldn’t save at all if he didn’t pay the big bills.
And I get to feel morally superior as I brief the no neck guy, who collects on my debts, on the hubby’s whereabouts. You thought my family could skate, maybe?